The Polaris line-up of 2011 off-road ATVs and Ranger side-by-sides will make people think.
They will think long and hard about how to justify purchasing a machine with many practical features, but is so much fun to drive that it must be a sin listed somewhere in America’s Puritan heritage.
Even the smallest Sportsman 400 ATV powers through corners and climbs up steep, rocky creek banks with effort to spare. The Ranger 400 will maneuver through the same terrain while packing two people and a 1000-pound payload.
And, Polaris listened when customers wanted a better ride, easier steering and more ground clearance. Engineers moved the motor back about 3 inches to lighten the front end so each Sportsman ATV steers with less effort - from the 400 H.O. to the XP 850 two-person touring model. Easier steering means a safer ride, especially for a small-sized test driver with bursitis in her elbow. All of the ATV models cornered sharply, with little skidding.
Not Your Daddy’s Golf Cart
The brand new Ranger diesel was made especially for farmers and ranchers: It pulls like a draft horse. Even with the 3-cylinder, 24 horsepower engine, a driver will not feel underpowered while climbing hills or crossing streams. The side-by-side purrs along like a Percheron in harness, steady, ready and willing to tighten the traces. Polaris engineers designed this diesel to tow a ton, anywhere anytime.
All of the Ranger models also include push-button all-wheel drive, including turf mode. In turf mode, only one wheel drives the vehicle so tender grass or crops will not be torn up as badly.
Hunters might especially appreciate the brand new electric side-by-side, the Ranger EV-LSV that is practically silent.
In an effort to provide what their customers really want, Polaris introduced a second mid-size side-by-side, the Ranger 500 EFI. Both mid-sized models, the Ranger 400 and the Ranger 500, will fit inside a standard pickup bed. The 500 has a slightly bigger engine than the less-expensive Ranger 400 and includes more comfort features, including tilt-wheel steering. In fact, all of the higher-end Ranger models have tilt-wheel steering while the Ranger 400 steering wheel sits high and can not be adjusted. Smaller-sized people should test drive this model going up and down hills before purchasing because the long reach to the steering wheel might feel as if the driver could be launched forward if the vehicle stopped quickly.
Producers who invest in a 2011 Polaris ATV will find themselves behind the wheel of a more comfortable working partner on the farm or ranch.
Engineers lightened their 550 and 850 models by about 12 lbs. and improved the braking system. The Sportsman 400 H.O. boasts 25% higher ground clearance, 63% more rack capacity and 80% more pulling capacity because engineers moved the 2011 economy model to a full-sized frame. That bigger frame adds to the ATV’s solid feel, too.
Polaris engineers design their off-road vehicles to last, on average, approximately 2000 hours, or 20,000 miles. A few of the “extras” will probably break before then - little items such as the clips that close the safety nets on the Rangers - but the functional aspects of the machines are durable. If an owner changes the oil regularly, the engine and transmission will last. Retail prices vary depending on the model, but at approximately $4 to $5 an hour, an off-road laborer can pay its way - even for a Puritan.